Emily Qvist-Baudry

PhD Student

University of Edinburgh


Working title of PhD: What is actually happening? – An analysis of violent interaction patterns amongst male prisoners in British prisons

Year commenced PhD study: 2019

Institution/Organisation: The University of Edinburgh

Full or part-time: Full-time

PhD Supervisors: Dr Hugo Gorringe, Prof Richard Sparks

Synopsis of PhD:

The project will via CCTV analyse the micro-dynamics of violent episodes in British prisons along with their circumstances with the purpose of understanding the factors that impact the occurrence of interpersonal violence amongst male prisoners.

Which interactional patterns can be observed during violent incidents in prison settings among male prisoners and how do the patterns compare?
Which interactional patterns can be observed when conflict does not turn violent in prison settings among male prisoners and how do the patterns compare?
How is interpersonal violence perceived by those involved and which measures are suggested to be appropriate for the reduction of violent incidents?

The first two questions can be answered by obtaining access to CCTV-footage of violent incidents inside prison walls, enabling an analysis of the situational dynamics leading to violent incidents. The situational emergence captured will provide for sequential studies of bodily movements and postures in each violent incident. This is capacitated by use of CCTV, as technology allows for slowing down videos, thus capturing dynamics, which would be difficult to notice if observed in real time.

As CCTV alone cannot provide enough data for a substantial analysis of the subject, the project will also employ semi-structured interviews with prisoners and prison staff involved in violent incidents to provide answers to the third question by shedding light on tension-escalation factors and dynamics that may provoke the tension. The interviews will present life inside prison from a humane point of view, to provide insight into how prisoners as human beings.


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